As I wait for the date of my upgrade to be confirmed I am bringing my writing together into a 6,000-word document – Part 1 From Ontology to Object-Oriented Photography and Part 2 From Object-Oriented Photography to Practice-Based Case Study and Method. After largely positive feedback I need to ensure that while thinking deeply about the combined document and attending to the specific comments, that I do not disrupt the flow or narrative of my work. This has proved difficult as I began to doubt my work and writing, particularly in relation to research methods.
While I am happy about the way I have described and developed the research methodology I started reading books about other possible methods and approaches that I had not previously considered. Generally, this process reassured me in the choices I had made, and it also yielded an additional idea which I had not previously articulated that I was using my images as research data. Furthermore, in my second year, the exploration of the 10-constructs model through photographic practice, construct by construct, will yield a large array of research data, so long as I have appropriate ways of analysing that data. This is something I need to reflect on some more.
I returned to Practice as Research in the Arts by Robin Nelson (2013) which had provided me with the guiding principles and approach of my research. In Part 1 of the upgrade document, I had articulated the ways of knowing in my research, based on Ryan (2021) and Graham Harman’s Fourfold Model which foreground the epistemology of practice. These were described as:
- Noumenological knowing that is knowing through the awareness of being
- Phenomenological knowing through the active perception and analysis of presence
- Eidological knowing through reflection on the above.
Nelson’s words began to reassure me through his reflections on Practice-based Research. For example, his words about how practice and writings and reflections meld together:
“Thus the relation between arts practices and any accompanying writing to articulate and evidence the research inquiry involves more than a willingness, or otherwise, of practitioner-researchers to write complementary commentaries. It is a question of relations between different modes of knowing which, though in dialogue in my model, are not subject to commensurate criteria of validity but which might affirm each other by way of resonance.” (2013 p58).
And how critical reflection, a fundamental part of my practice, through writing in my journal, writing and evaluating my images on this blog, engaging in critical reflection of my practice on a weekly basis and using tools such as the Emotigram, in turn, informs my academic research and the direction of future practice. Here is Nelson again:
“I hold that critical reflection does yield insights, some of which might be disseminated in a verbal commentary. Knowing is a continuing process of negotiation between the various modes (know-how, know-what, know-that).” (2013 p58).
And finally, Nelson sums up the purpose of critical reflection in this context:
“The purpose of critical reflection in a PaR [Practice as Research] context is better to understand and articulate – by whatever specific means best meet the need in a particular project – what is at stake in the praxis in respect of substantial new insights.” (2013 p60).
Nelson, R. (2013). Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances. London, Palgrave Macmillan.
Ryan, R., Price, A B J (2021). Object Oriented Photography – a Speculative Essay on the Photography of Essence.